Originally Written on February 8, 2011

I read bee stuff all the time.

I have only one hive- financial constraint prevented me from getting 2. My package arrived late in the season- almost June of last year. I was worried they wouldn’t have time to build up before winter, especially since pollen was gone and flowering plants were scorched by the summer weather.

I last checked my hive in October- hoping all would be well. I have a minimalist approach to beekeeping- less is better in my theory.

I agonized all November, December and January. I cleared away snow and helped clear dead bees from the landing board. When I saw some dead small hive beetles on my sticky board, I feared the worst. All the literature I read said small hive beetles took over if the colony was weak.

I knew today was supposed to be warm. I went to WalMart, got some Crisco, mixed it with lots of sugar, a little salt, vinegar and corn oil. I warmed a refrigerated pollen patty, and set out to check my hive.

Donning gloves and veil, armed with my camera, expecting very subdued ladies, I went to the hive. It was about 55 degrees near the hive. Little wind. Lots of sun.

I was SO pleased to see lots of girls buzzing the opening. I knew that there was life within.

Thinking I was doing them a favor, I had left the hive-top feeder on all winter, last filling it around early December with super concentrated sugar solution. I was distressed to read just yesterday that that probably wasn’t a good idea since the ladies have a hard time processing this type of feeding during the winter.

I arranged my supplies next to the hive.

I lifted the telescoping lid. Relieved, there were girls actually drinking from the concentrated sugar left in the feeder.

I cracked the top-hive feeder from the deep super.

I lifted it off.

I was SWARMED by HUNDREDS of very lively bees! Boy, were they pissed that I had disturbed them!

Got stung ‘bout 6 times- once on the lips. (I feel like Angelina Jolie!)

Got my self OUT OF THERE quick!

This is the last time I approach this hive without a lit smoker! Good thing my fuel is quick to light and catch- went back to add my food and check things out.

Seems this hive is VERY alive and well- no small hive beetle evidence, lots of comb, lots of ladies. Looks like I should have a good year.

Have a nice week fellow bee keepers.

- Mary Clements

Some Hints From Our Members

Keep a spray bottle of (isopropyl) alcohol nearlby when opening your hive. If you are stung, spray the spot
immediately with alcohol, and the chemicals that would attract more bees intent on stinging will be neutralized. (from Russell Vreeland)

If ants are a problem in your hive (and they really seem prevalent this year!) consider using containers filled with mineral or vegetable oil under your hive. If you place a stone or other such object in a lid or some such container of oil, and place one lid under each corner of your hive, you’ll create a barrier ants can’t cross. (This makes sense to me, but I haven’t yet got the kinks worked out! Ann Snyder)

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